Most of us have made comments in the past that we’ve later come to regret - but spare a thought for Mortgage Choice’s Josh Foote, whose workplace banter has seen him facing the ascension of Africa’s tallest – and deadliest - mountain.
Last year, Foote, an infrastructure team leader at the broker, took part in a casual conversation which, unbeknownst to him, would dramatically change the course of his 32nd year.
“I’m not sure if you ever heard about the guy in the Star Wars suit who walked from Perth to Sydney for [Starlight Children’s Foundation]? I said to the staff that I could do something like that…and they held me to it.”
He further added that he would happily ‘climb a mountain’ in the name of charity. So, on February 2, Foote, born and bred in urban Sydney, will touch down in Tanzania in order to face a 5,895-metre dormant volcano. He has no mountain-climbing experience, whatsoever.
“I have hiking experience, but no mountain-climbing experience and I’ve never been to Africa. Since I don’t have any ice-climbing skills, I kind of just looked up the highest hike-able mountain in the world…I figured that would give me my best shot.”
Figures from the Kilimanjaro National Park website say only 42% of trekkers actually reach the Uhuru summit. Most turn around before they reach the top due to exhaustion or cold (or are killed by falling rocks). In fact, it’s estimated that more people have died on Mt Kilimanjaro than on Everest. Foote, however, is determined to be one of the relative few to see the sun rise over the African savannah.
“I’m going to try my very best to get to the top; I’m going to keep going until someone actually tells me to stop. We’re hoping to reach the summit on February 9.”
Yet this is anything but a young man’s demonstration of bravado. Foote, who’s funding the trek out of his own pocket, is using the experience to raise money for a charity that benefits critically ill children.
“A few months ago, I was lucky enough to visit one of Ronald McDonald Houses and saw first-hand the kind of positive environment and huge amount of relief the charity provides to Australian families in need.”
As of his interview with Australian Broker, Foote has raised $2,590 for Ronald McDonald House, though he hopes to raise at least $5,000 over the course of his trek through online donations.
Once he’s reached ground-level again, Foote says he’ll spend a bit of time enjoying the wild sights and sounds of Africa - though he admits plans are still a bit hazy at this point.
“I think we’re supposed to do a safari afterwards, but I haven’t really paid attention. I can’t really think past finishing the climb.”
To donate to Foote’s cause, CLICK HERE